Brentford fan Bill The Bee Grant answered our questions ahead of tonight's game between the West Londoners and Reading.
How's your season been so far?
Honestly? This season has been decent so far.
Yes we lost to Huddersfield 2-1 first game of the season. We were slightly peeved about that at the time having smashed them 5-1 on the last game of last season .. hold on .. tell a lie. We weren’t peeved at all because we got caught up in their street food and craft beer festival right out side the station for hours both before and after the game .. so the result bore less of a significance on what turned out to be a tremendous day.
And yes we lost to Rotherham 1-0 (they scored. Then weathered the Alamo).
But we beat Brighton 2-0 on their own turf. Should have beaten Villa on their own patch (1-1). They quite literally did nothing after going ahead on 15 minutes. We beat Ipswich quite convincingly (2-0). And smashed Preston 5-0.
So to lose against Wolves was in a way expected - seeing as we aren’t really a top 6 side at this moment. We’re still building to be a top 6 side. And will win some games and lose others. Saying that, the Wolves match still could have gone either way up to the 92nd minute.
The truth is we are short a few players. And we need to be more consistent. But on our day, we do play some very good football and can (cliché time) beat any team in this division.
Before the season started, I eagerly predicted us to finish 6th in the table. However, I realised once the season had started that we were lacking a bit of strength in depth. I have not been allowed to downgrade my prediction by a few places as it’s not in the rules. So I’ll stick with 6th place for now.
After the highs of the Warburton era, it's not been quite as exciting for the last year and a bit.
Are you hopeful you'll get back to sustained challenging at the top?
Who says? We finished a respectable 9th last season. And no one was expecting us to battle for a playoff place the previous year. We were touted for relegation by most and our fans were happy with 20th place (they say). So yes that playoff run capped off an exciting season.
But then last season we had massive ups and downs - it was quite hilarious. One minute we were pants. Then we sack the manager (Marinus Dijkhuizen). Next minute we were on a massive winning run under a caretaker manager (Lee Carsley).
Then we have a horrendous run under the next manager (Dean Smith) that had people whispering very loudly “relegation worries here”. Then we went on a winning run until the end of the season (I think we won 7 .. drew 1 .. lost 1) which could only best be described as title-winning form.
What’s more we beat QPR 1-0 and F*lham 3-0 so we were quite happy with that. We’re easily pleased.
The fact that we managed to finish 11 places ABOVE our “well be delighted to finish” 20th position expectation in our 2nd season in the Championship is brilliant.
This season the fans have now got used to the division. You can tell.
People are picking and choosing away games. We feel we have proven our point and are established in the division.
Still not resting on laurels though. But having played a few teams now, we already feel there are more than 3 teams worse than us in the division so relegation shouldn’t be a worry.
We now need to concentrate on moving ourselves up the table at a steady rate.
Any good or bad memories of games between the sides?
I was in North Yorkshire trying to bomb it down the motorway last Xmas holiday to catch Canos’ wonder goal against you guys but didn’t make it. One of a handful of matches I missed last season.
To be honest - not really. And I’ve watched us play more than 20 times I reckon.
I remember Kerry Dixon scoring for you shooting towards our terrace at Elm Park. And I remember the season when we eventually got promoted to the old Division 1 in 1992, playing out a frustrating 0-0 draw against you which saw the team get booed. Manage Phil Holder the gave his infamous “Where are the doubters now” speech. We were 4th at the time but didn’t lost a game after that - and won the 1st Division title on the last day of the season.
Then there was the season (2002) when we went 1-0 up on course for promotion to The Championship on the last game of the season when Jamie Cureton equalised in the 77th minute to send Reading up and dumping us in the playoffs. I ‘spose yes that loss did hurt quite badly. But put it to the back of my mind.
I did meet my best mate at Reading way back when I was still at school it has to be said. We had just bumped into each other walking back to the station (about 5 of us) and were in mid introductory conversation when we were accosted by about 50 Reading fans just by the underpass. I remember it well.
We hot-footed it back to the station. I was fairly athletic in those days and managed to avoid a trip to Reading Infirmary running through the streets of Reading like a gazelle. After that close encounter we became really good mates and travelled up and down the country together. I ended up being his best man and even told the tale at his wedding which actually went down with roars of laughter.
Who should we be worried about on Tuesday?
Everyone has started to hear about Scott Hogan. He’s properly on fire. Knows where the back of the net is. Scored 7 goals in less than 180 minutes of play towards the back end of last season. Andre Gray was meant to be his understudy but Hogan got injured for 2 years - so Gray stepped up. He’s only just back and played less than 20 games for us but already folk are talking about him leaving.
Hopefully with people with their eye on Hogan, they will then take their eye off Sullay Kaikai - a winger on loan from Palace who scored an absolute rocket against Wolves on Saturday. And John Egan - our goal scoring centre back. And Ryan Woods - our midfield maestro. And Maxime Colin - our silky smooth right back. And Nico - our lively central midfielder. And Lewis McLeod. And Josh Clarke. And the rest of the side.
Any Reading player you're worried about?
It’s gotta be John Swift. I wrote an article for you in which I said I felt that Swift had got short shrift from a small section of Brentford fans but I thought he would come good this season. And it seems that he has. Just not for us.
So it will be just our luck if he comes down to Griffin Park and nicks a goal or two.
I think he will want to just to give it back to the characters who have him a bit of stick when he was down here.
We have a more solid defence than we did last season so hopefully, he won’t get a sniff.
What sort of reception will John Swift get?
I’m pretty sure he won’t get he best of receptions from a vocal section of the crowd. If he plays up to it, it could all get quite lively - which could play into our hands. I don’t necessarily want Swift to get the brunt of our supporters’ beef. However, we do need to get a bit of edge back to our vocal support at Griffin Park as it’s a bit “third season in The Championship” if you know what I mean.
Maybe John Swift will add fuel to our vocal fire.
This is actually very tough. I normally am reeling off 2-0 and 3-0 home scores. But this match we have a fair few injuries. Saying that, we do have a half decent defence. So I think I am going to have to go with us just edging it 1-0 me thinks.
Finally, any tips for the away fans?
Reading fans should know Brentford has a million pubs .If you have the afternoon off work you should visit them all. Everyone knows we have 3 pubs on the corner (one of the 4 has closed down). They’re OK .. but the more adventurous venture further afield.
Preston fans were down Brentford high street last week. Other fans find themselves drinking in and around Kew Bridge.
There’s an excellent pub guide in our match preview which even gives a pub crawl from Northfields tube station down to Brentford if you so fancy - The Plough, The Lord Nelson. Then The Globe (where we drink) which is a good 'mixed fan' pub .. then onto The Griffin (by the away turnstile).
100% worth tucking into the pubs off the “4 pubs trail”.
Billy theBee Grant (@BillyTheBee99) writes, pods and video blogs for Beesotted fanzine. You can follow them on twitter (@Beesotted) and watch their match day fan videos on the Beesotted Youtube Channel and check out their podcasts.